Friday, July 30, 2010

Bele Chere 2010, Asheville

Last Sunday my husband and I attended Bele Chere, Ashevile's biggest street fest
for three decades running. It began in 1979 to help bring business to downtown Asheville during the slower summer months. It has blossomed over the years to a huge festival with art, music on four stages, food, beverages, a drum circle, children's entertainment and more. Usually held on the last full weekend in July, the fair draws over 300,000 people over the three days.

The name Bele Chere means "beautiful living" in an ancient Scottish dialect. Most of the original settlers in this area were from Scotland. We wandered around the main streets in the center of town, just enjoying the activities. It was a hot day but the misting tent offered a chance to cool off!

My favorite is the Purina sponsored Air Dog competition. People bring their dogs to show off how far they can jump in the water chasing a toy. The first photo catches a chocolate lab in full jump pose over the pool! A spaniel swims back to the platform in the second photo.

Many artists line the streets with everything from clothes, jewelry and pottery to music tapes and paintings. We were looking for a potter friend from Boone to visit with and found her family ensconced inside a cool restaurant having lunch. It was fun to meet up with them and hang out.

Street performers setup in various spots along the way and do their thing. This young lady looked like a statue and would play her drum at intervals. The mime below worked with his partner - hula hooping on stilts.

We topped the afternoon off with a performance by a zydeco band and the crowd was really into them! (For those not familiar with this kind of music click on zydeco for explanation!)

Hope you enjoyed our public festival - we are joining in with Photo Hunt - Public and Scenic Sunday! Please stop by and visit them.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lake Tomahawk, Black Mountain

Just a few blocks from the town of Black Mountain sits Lake Tomahawk Park with all sorts of recreational facilities and a level walkway around the lake covering .55 miles. The gazebo shelters you from the sun and presents a lovely view of the mountains and fountain at the far end of the lake. Come with me as we take a stroll around the lake.

This family is set up for fishing and seems to be having some luck. The small island near shore is a wildlife sanctuary and some birdhouses ring the island - for ducks I guess?

Geese, ducks and other water fowl meander the shores. Even two butterflies stop on the path to visit.

The tennis courts, playground and picnic area are all adjacent to the Senior Center next to the pool. It looks very inviting, especially the colorful waterfall off the giant umbrellas at the this end of pool.

A small garden and a community garden add lots of color to the path and the bed and breakfast beckons....a close by getaway perhaps, and overlooking this lovely spot too.

The water funnels out into a small creek at the far end with a bridge to cross over. Looking back we are seeing Mount Mitchell - at 6,684 feet above sea level, the highest point east of the Rockies in the US. Look for the highest peak in the first photo below. The range is called the Seven Sisters.

The Seven Sisters are a locally well-known, much-beloved range. The range is only about three and a half miles long, encompassing seven neatly ascending “sisters” leading to their “father,” Greybeard Mountain. You can see the seven peaks int he photo below.

The fountain is more in view here and so is the Senior/Activity Center. Trees shade the path on his side of the lake and offer a respite from the sun. Once back we cross over another creek and back to the parking lot. Lots of ducks and geese have take over this quiet spot and seem to enjoy themselves.

Hope you liked the stroll - you can count it as part of your workout today! We are playing Outdoor Wednesday and Watery Wednesday today so please visit them too.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mountaintop Wedding, Banner Elk

Last weekend my husband and I attended a wedding of two friends in a multi million dollar timber frame gated community in Banner Elk - I couldn't wait to go since I had not seen the development before. The entrance is showcased with a zig zag series of rock walls. The gatehouse is a huge log structure similar to the homes inside.

Most of the lots are sold but few houses have been built. This is one of the first you see on the two mile drive up to the Great Camp where the wedding took place. The development has a wildlife sanctuary, hiking trails and all sorts of sporting areas with a equestrian center in the planning stages.

The reception was in the pavilion - huge Paul Bunyan size picnic tables flanked a massive stone fireplace. Since we were at 4500 feet, the view was spectacular and the air was nice and cool. Dinner and appetizers were buffet style - lots of fresh fruit, cheeses, roast beef and salmon for the entree and yummy wedding cake for dessert.

A rock amphitheater led down to the stage where the ceremony took place. Seating was on the rocks situated on the hillside overlooking the stage. Thankfully the invitation said not to wear heels but they should have required hiking shoes and attire!!!!

The men in the bridal party wore black Converse sneakers - looked great with the tuxes. The bridesmaids wore deep plum dresses and carried cream and plum colored bouquets tied with ribbon. They too wore flat sandals to better maneuver the gravel walkways.

Hope looked gorgeous in her gown - very simple with lovely bead work. She and the groom Brett adopted her sister's two girls who were the bridesmaids. Chelsea and Shelby took their vows with Hope and Brett - it was very touching and not a dry eye in the place.

The minister introduced the new family and named all four of them rather than just say husband and wife. It was a lovely service and very personal.

This is the view from off the stage where the ceremony took place. We are looking at the Linville Ridge - Sugar Mountain and the backside of Linville Ridge Country Club.

Another friend did the flowers and they were lovely - hydrangeas, Queen Anne's lace, lots of greenery and some other flowers I don't know the names of.

Each table had a bark vase with the same flowers inside. The walkways had candles to light the way interspersed with daisy bouquets in mason jars hanging from iron hooks and tin buckets full of black eyed Susan's filled in the nooks on the path. Very country, rustic and simple.

There was so much for the kids to do here - lots of places to run and play and this huge log had been converted to a horse swing. We had to be on the lookout for the ramming end when walking around it!

Brett, the groom, is a Chef and made the cake - a lovely white cake layered with strawberries and a butter cream frosting. It was delicious! It sat on a bark covered plate with ferns and moss around the base.

The wonderful evening was capped off with dancing under the stars and a view of the sunset and mountains going off into the distance. It was definitely one of the more unique weddings I have been to.
The Great Camp can be rented out and you don't have to live here - not that any of us at the wedding did! If you want more info on the place here visit Eagle's Nest.

Hope you enjoyed this - please visit Scenic Sunday and Today's Flowers for more.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Black Mountain on a Rosy Day

One of my favorite towns in Western North Carolina is Black Mountain. With a population of 8000, it is hardly large but it does boast lots of art galleries, antique shops, retreat and conferences centers, festivals galore and great places to eat. Hailed as the Front Porch of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the symbol of the town is a giant red rocking chair at the Chamber Office. Red seems to be the main color in town.

Cherry Street is the main drag with little alleys wandering off to the side streets. The train depot is now an art gallery with the red train car sitting ext to it. The train tracks still are used and run through downtown.

Being a resort town, they do a bang up job of decorating for the holidays. Over the 4th of July we came over here to buy an ice cream cone, wander through the streets and finally sitting on a rock wall to watch the fireworks shot up over town.

So many shops feature locally made crafts and art. I love to do my gift shopping here - giving others hand made items from where I live. The music scene here is fantastic with several clubs offering great local bands. The town sits in a valley surrounded by the Black and Blue Ridge Mountains - you can even see Mount Mitchell from downtown - the highest point in the Appalachians on the east coast.

Hope you enjoyed the visit. Please stop by Ruby Tuesday and a new meme I found Rednesday for more red photos!


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